Bulb Extender Tip – How to Use a Lightbulb Extender


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When I moved into my new house, there were plenty of things I loved, but the dim overhead lighting was not one of them. And at the time, the only floor lamp I had was the ubiquitous dorm room torchiere lamp with a plastic shade that I had been lugging around for a decade.

It was an orb of perfection, diffusing just the right light and gave me major Parisian brasserie vibes — just the thing I needed to class up my boho style. I envisioned adding an amber bulb for a cozy glow.

After setting sights on my dream lamp, I started noticing the round globe style everywhere: in chic restaurants, while watching re-runs of “Mad Men,” “Emily in Paris,” even in the home remodels in “Queer Eye.”

Unfortunately, my freelance writer budget couldn’t afford the $249 West Elm price tag. I spent weeks stalking their website waiting for a sale, but the only promo I could find was 10 percent off — still out of my price range.

But! While browsing the site, I saw that they sold just the round milk glass shade by itself as a replacement shade for their lamps for an extremely reasonable $19. That’s when a lightbulb went off — literally. I set off on a journey to hack the floor lamp of my Instagram dreams. It took a lot of trial and error but here’s how I did it:

After scouring the web, I found a gold lamp base on Amazon with a similar style to my dream lamp. I chose a 70-inch-tall brass model for $36.

Unfortunately but not surprisingly, West Elm’s shades aren’t a perfect fit for just any lamp base. The opening on the shade was too small for a round Edison bulb, and then too heavy to rest on the smaller lightbulb that did fit into the opening. I thought my dreams were dashed.

But one super cheap — like, less than $15 cheap — product turned it around. I bought a lightbulb extender from Amazon that fits into any standard lightbulb socket and helps add some extra height to any bulb you’re using. All you need to do is screw the extender in just like you would a lightbulb, and then screw a lightbulb directly into the extender. There are lots of sizes and shapes, but after much trial and error and Amazon returns later, I found that this extender fit perfectly through the small hole in the top of the West Elm shade for a flush fit against the lamp arm. Unlike the small bulb I’d used previously, it was also strong enough to hold the shade in place.

The extender even added extra perk to my new lamp: an included on/off remote control, so I can turn the lamp on and off from across the room.

It’s been a month since I completed this hack, and it’s by far my favorite decor item in my house. The $249 lamp of my dreams cost just under $70 all together — a much more manageable splurge (and even less money if you already have a floor lamp you can use). 

I’m already thinking about adding the milk glass shade to a desk lamp and adding a row of them to the bathroom vanity for glam look without the glam price. And if you’ve been eyeing your own dream lamp that’s so far been out of reach, this little under-$15 gadget might be just the fix to be able to hack together some luxury.